Nothing wrong with that, it's a great slogan, and if a party's policy being enacted is a measure of election victory, then Bob Jones's New Zealand Party won that election by a mile. Bob Jones always maintained that selling the 'prosperity' part of the package was easy, it was selling people on the 'f-word' that was a little more problematic.
So it is with Rodney's speech.
Rodney declared that in order to be free and prosperous, we need four things: Tax cuts, Tighter control of government spending, Sanctity of private property rights, and Freedom to contract. A few things missing there, but let's agree that all these are necessary, if not sufficient.
I'm particularly happy that Rodney is in favour of protecting property rights, so I leapt straight to that section of the speech to see how he proposed to protect them. Property rights, you see, are a bulwark of freedom and the key to both prosperity and environmental success -- and to freedom -- and they've been under vigorous attack from the Local Government Act, the Public Works Act and the Resource Management Act for some years now, as I'm sure Rodney knows.
They're under attack now in Auckland City from Hubbard's new board of aesthetic advisors; they're under attack in the Upper Clyde with the decision to disallow Shania Twain the right to build her house on her own land; they're under attack in the Waikato with a bullying SOE trying to force pylons and power lines across the property of unwilling farmers; they're under attack in Greater Auckland with the Auckland Regional Council's 'Plan Change 6' -- hell, property rights are under attack everywhere!
So what is Rodney proposing for the protection of property rights? After rightly bemoaning the present state of affairs, he declares ACT "will ensure that property rights are never taken without compensation." Huh?! That's what ACT call protecting the sanctity of property rights? Subsidising theft? Sheesh!
Tell the Waikato farmers that's what their property rights are worth. Tell that to Shania Twain, and to Andrew Borrett, jailed for five months for clearing bush on his own land. Tell that to the ratepayers of every council in the country who will be up to their eyeballs in debt to pay compensation to people who don't want it, but who just want their property rights protected.
Unfortunately, this disgraceful apology for property rights -- the idea that property rights = compensation for 'takings' -- has also gained traction in the US, where it is known as 'eminent domain.'
- Donald Trump used it to have the New Jersey legislature try and throw people out of their houses in Atlantic City, so that he could build a new parking lot for his casino. It was in the 'public interest' he argued.
- General Motors had Detroit City authorities condemn a whole neighbourhood to make way for a new auto plant.
- 70 families in Fort Trumbull, New Connecticut were targetted by the City of New London to make way for a 90 acre private development -- some stayed to fight and their case was heard recently by the US Supreme Court. A decision is expected soon. A victory for Susan Kelo, the last remaining resident of Fort Trumbull, may put a stop to this practice in the States, even as Rodney Hide and ACT look to make it legal here.